HANTS = Hampshire ?

When I was in England, I learned that the postal abbreviation for Hamshire was HANTS.  This confused me as there is no “N” or “T” in Hampshire.  I asked around and never got an answer.  However, I knew the good readers of “Column 8” in the Sydney Morning Herald would be able to solve this for me.  The answer follows:

“Jan Howard Finder must have talked to an unusually ill-informed museum curator,” writes Bill Noble, of Macquarie University (“Why is Hampshire abbreviated as HANTS?”, Column 8, yesterday). “Hamtunscir is first recorded as such in 755. It was named from Hamtun, the old name for Southampton. The HANTS abbreviation comes from the Doomsday Book entry, where it was transcribed by Latin-trained French speaking clerics as Hantescire. Scir is Old English for shire.” Simple, eh?

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